A Lesson From the Squirrels

photo-8The squirrels are at it again. They’re on the neighbor’s bush munching away at the few remaining seed pods. Thing is, this untrimmed bush only has a few spindly branches with most of the seeds dangling 20 feet off the ground. The branches are so thin they bow and sway under the weight of the squirrels when they scamper up to reach the seeds.

But there the squirrels sit, eating lunch with their hind feet and tails tightly wrapped around a skinny branch, balancing against occasional bursts of wind like seasoned acrobats. Squirrels have a reputation for getting what they want regardless of obstacles. These squirrels have their seeds, and they have a valuable lesson to share. It’s called persistence.

If something is important, I mean really important, you must be willing to work for it. That’s true of education and career choices, and it’s especially true about what we do for our families. Congratulations to everyone who has traded personal convenience to provide children with food, clothing, shelter, health care, swimming lessons, music lessons, and on and on. But, there is another far more important investment to be made for children. It is an investment in their spiritual well being. How are you sharing your faith values with them?

Kids need to know how faith in Christ applies to them. One of the most engaging ways to disciple children about God is to talk about Him through their lives. Use their accomplishments, failures, and frustrations to share what you have learned about joy, sorrow, and dependence on God. Write little messages, telling them how God has answered your prayers on their behalf, how you are now praying for their future.

It only takes a few minutes to jot down your thoughts, a minute more to find life-giving words in the Bible to support them. Sharing your faith with younger generations is more than a good idea, it’s a directive from God. Be persistent. Give children food that lasts an eternity.

“One generation shall commend your [God’s] works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.” – Psalm 145:4

A Lasting Reminder

unnamedAs I reached for something on a family room table, my hand brushed across a photo of me with my siblings. It was taken a few years back at a family reunion. I paused momentarily to look at our faces. It is memorable because as quickly as we found a place to stand, several relatives grabbed their cameras and ran forward to capture our image. One niece told me this might be the last chance to see us together. 

Her instinct was correct. Since that day, one of my brothers has died, my sister was widowed, and my remaining brother is battling against a serious disease. It is a sobering reminder that life gives no guarantees. Not one of us can depend on tomorrow. The older we become, the more clearly we can see this as a gift from God, a chance to rearrange our priorities.

During the months leading up to my brother’s passing, we shared some of our most intimate, soul searching conversations. We talked fondly about members of our family’s younger generations and reminisced about those whose lives had already slipped away. At some point, we talked about salvation through faith in Christ, assurance that we will one day be reunited in Heaven.

Our conversations prompted me to write my faith message for my grandchild. By God’s grace, I will live to see him accept Christ as his Savior. If not, my testimony will stand as a witness for him. Spoken words are a treasure. But unless our testimony is written it will be quickly lost, perhaps within the next generation. Carve out some time in your day to plan for the future. Put your story in writing so it can outlive you.

“For he gave his laws to Israel and commanded our fathers to teach them to their children, so that they in turn could teach their children too. Thus his laws pass down from generation to generation.” – Psalm 78:5-6 (The Living Bible)